There’s only so much you can do yourself. The limit to scaling your business is your capacity to scale through your people. Because no single person can beat a whole soccer team. The beautiful thing about scaling up through people is that you don’t have to scale your payroll too. These are 5 ways to scale your business with the budget you have.

Even internet businesses are built by people

You can have the best business idea but it’s worth nothing if you can’t get your people to execute. This is why the best bosses aren’t the bosses that work the hardest. I’m a believer in hard work but you’re not doing your job if you’re not cultivating your direct reports. Ten to twenty percent from every team member is worth a lot more than improving yourself by fifty percent.

5 ways to scale your business through people

Successful bosses know how to surround themselves with good people and inspire them to greatness. And these are five proven ways to improve performance.

1. Wellness for productivity

Startups are Like Multi-Year Marathons With Several Sprints In-between Jpeg

Some of the biggest so called overnight successes have been years in the making. Startups are multi-year marathons with several sprints in between. You will need your mental and physical energy to power through pivots.

Mental wellbeing is a bit of a taboo subject. Mental wellbeing isn’t just about extreme diseases like schizophrenia. Mental wellbeing is about being productive, coping with stress and having good relationships.

It’s difficult to maintain mental wellbeing when you’re unhappy at work. When you view it that way suddenly you realise how many employees have a daily struggle with mental wellbeing. And you realise the role that bosses play in the mental wellbeing of their employees.

A bad boss can cause clinical depression. A good boss helps their employees find value and meaning in their jobs.

“When your employees find value and meaning in their work they are motivated to do good work.”


Practical tip: Nothing builds good relationships with your employees like regular one-on-ones. The bonus is that you’ll get to know the energy level of your team. So you’ll know when you can push through a sprint and when to back off and have some fun.

Recommended resource: Have high quality one on ones by using this one on one form

2. Motivation - Are you using your best asset?

Start with awareness, the awareness that people are an almost unlimited resource. Think of your biggest problems. People can fix your biggest problems. Because a sufficiently motivated workforce can achieve almost anything.


There is more to awareness. Awareness includes ugly truths. Are you being honest with yourself about your employees level of motivation? The research consistently says that more than half of people dislike their jobs. The facts are that  only 20% of the workforce are fully engaged. If you think your company is different you’ll be like the Ron Burgandy weather report. Right every time. 20% of the time.

Most people are not self motivated to deliver your vision. And even the best of us needs some help on a bad day. But no-one likes feedback. Employees aren’t motivated by traditional performance management.

Practical Tip: Try Inspiring Performance Communication instead.

Provide a vision that you’re working for. Speak to employees in a language they understand. Some questions to consider:

  1. Are people listening to your message?

  2. Is your message motivational to your employees?

  3. Do your employees do what you ask?

Recommended Resource: Quiz to find out if your performance communication is working. And if not, why not. 

3. Development - improving employee skills

Employee growth through skills development Jpeg

But startups often don’t have the budget for advanced training courses. Founders don’t have the time to play teacher. Once again motivation is the key. Because when your employees want to improve, they will happily spend time learning. Provide the right sort of motivation and they’ll even figure out how to learn without blowing the budget.

Practical tip: Your role as a boss is to guide your employees through their development. Help them to figure out what to develop. What skills will support their goals and ambitions as well as the companies. Work with your employees to make plan and encourage them as a coach.

4. Delegation - Doing more by doing less

This is similar to development because you can use your team's desire to grow as a motivational lever to get more done. And I can also guarantee you that right now your team has got skills that you don’t know about. Dare I say it - skills that are even better than yours. Most founders are multi-skilled. In the beginning they have to do a bit of everything. Scaling means finding experts and letting go.

Scaling Up is Like Building a Pyramid Jpeg

Think of it like building a pyramid. You build level by level and as you build one level you use that as a base to build the next level. As you scale you will need to take on new responsibilities and challenges. And you can only do this when you successfully make space in your day.


Helpful resource: Make space in your day by identifying what tasks you should delegate.

5. Selection - Right people on the bus

Scaling up is a tricky time. Startups grow so fast that it’s difficult to find enough talent. You’re going to have to sell your company to new hires.

And the growth stage is where your company culture will be established. Company culture is almost impossible to change. Make sure that you are avoiding bad hires

As Steve Jobs would say: “One last thing”:

Recruiting is not about filling empty spaces.

Recruiting is making sure that you have the right people on your team. Lean startups do not have the fat to carry passengers. I’ve seen what a difference the right staff make. If you feel you have to fight to keep your company afloat. If you feel your staff don’t have the right skillset, capabilities or attitude to fix things then this is a sign that you’ve got the wrong people in the wrong jobs. Restructure into a motivated team with the right skillset and you will get more output with a smaller payroll.

Startups are particularly susceptible to bad hires. When your team is small, a single bad hire can sink you.

Practical Tip: Have the courage to deal with poor performance and your team will love you for it.

Helpful Resource: Don’t use random interview questions. Use behavioral interview questions that test candidates abilities against what you want

Special Mention About One-on-One Meetings

Do you know that regular, high quality one-on-ones with your employees are the single easiest management practice. Do one-on-ones right and not only can you can take care of almost all your management responsibilities in one go but they will also deliver you to manager Nirvana . It almost seems too good to be true – which could be why some managers don’t believe in them.

The reason why not every manager believes in one-on-ones is because not every manager knows how to do fast, high quality one-on-ones. As with anything in life, do it wrong and you're simply not going to see the results. But do it right and one-on-ones will change your life and deliver you to management nirvana. 

And the reason why bosses and employees have poor one on ones is simply because no-one shows you how to have high quality One-ones. I know none of my my bosses every taught me this skill and clearly no-one ever showed them either. What I do with Manager Foundation is that I show you the real world boss skills that you need but they don't teach you in university. That's why I made a mini-course on one-on-ones (including a one-on-one template with a one-on-one meeting agenda) which will show you 3 Steps 2 Easy 1 on 1's. What I expect you'll find is that you already know some of the content on some type of level but maybe you're not putting it into practice. This will help. As I say this is essential for new managers and helpful for experienced managers. To register, click on the button below:


Making plans to scale that don’t include developing your team is like a general making plans without an army. Thanks to the internet, startup tech businesses are extremely scalable. But the most scalable resource is the people who create the technology in the first place. Leadership starts with you.

Your own self leadership is being aware of the potential of your people and making a commitment to grow and develop your team.


Do you have any questions, comments or tips about scaling up? Please help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

Boss Camp

If you think about it, the job of a Boss is to get people to do stuff. But getting people to do what you want must be one of the toughest things in the world. That’s why WWW.BOSS.CAMP is about making managing easy in just an hour a week. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,
  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.